“The New-York Historical Society’s Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, is one of the oldest and most distinguished in the United States, containing more than three million books, pamphlets, maps, atlases,newspapers, broadsides, music sheets, manuscripts, prints, photographs and architectural drawings. The Klingenstein Library is one of only sixteen libraries in the United States qualified to be a member of the Independent Research Libraries Association.”

The library has printed collections (“The Printed Collections form the core of the Klingenstein Library’s holdings and include staggering numbers of publications relating to New York and American history: 350,000 books and pamphlets; 10,000 newspaper titles (or over 1 million issues); 18,000 broadsides; over 10,000 published maps and atlases; 15,000 pieces of sheet music; 10,000 dining menus; and over 500 hotel files”), manuscript collections, graphic collections, digital collections, and a library blog.

Some of the digital collections include:

  • Manuscript collections Relating to Slavery, “The Klingenstein Library of the New-York Historical Society holds among its many resources a substantial collection of manuscript materials documenting American slavery and the slave trade in the Atlantic world. The 14 collections on this website are among the most important of these manuscript collections. They consist of diaries, account books, letter books, ships’ logs, indentures, bills of sale, personal papers and records of institutions. Some of the highlights of these collections include the records of the New York Manumission Society and the African Free School, the diaries and correspondence of English abolitionists Granville Sharp and John Clarkson, the papers of the Boston anti-slavery activist Lysander Spooner, the records of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, the draft of Charles Sumner’s famous speech The Anti-Slavery Enterprise and an account book kept by the slave trading firm Bolton, Dickens & Co.”
  • New York Foundling Hospital Images, “This digital collection consists of selected images from the Records of the New York Foundling Hospital, 1869-2009. Images include photographs of Foundling facilities and activities, reproductions of pamphlets, and reproductions of notes left with children entrusted to the Foundling. The complete collection of NY Foundling Hospital records, including many other images, is at the New-York Historical Society.”
  • Brooklyn Revealed, “Brooklyn Revealed offers a photographic tour of Brooklyn, through which visitors will learn about individual neighborhoods as well as the origin of more than 100 Brooklyn street names. The photographs, all of which come from the collections of the New-York Historical Society’s Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, are paired with historical descriptions researched and written by New-York Historical’s librarians. In instances where information about a specific street is inconclusive, visitors to the site are invited to submit their own ideas about how the street got its name. Visitors are also encouraged to submit the names of streets not included on the site.”
  • Children’s Aid Society Images,”The collection consists of the historical records of the Children’s Aid Society (CAS). The charitable organization was founded in New York City in 1853 to aid, educate, and provide lodging for poor children in the city, and/or to place them in foster homes or with employers outside of the city. The records relate to the CAS lodging houses, industrial schools, convalescent homes, health centers, farm schools, and, especially, the emigration programs (“orphan train”) which operated during the period 1853-1947. The collection also includes limited material from 1948-1951 and annual reports to 2006. The bulk of the collection consists of case files from the emigration program which are restricted and need special permission to be viewed. Materials most represented in the collection are reports, bound volumes, photographs, and correspondence, among other material types. The finding aid for this collection can be found here:dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/nyhs/childrensaidsociety_do
  • Marion Mahoney Griffin’s The Magic of America, “Typescript of over 1,400 pages with approximately 650 accompanying illustrations written and compiled by Marion Mahony Griffin (1871–1961), architect, designer, delineator and artist, with her husband Walter Burley Griffin (1876–1937), architect, landscape designer and city planner. Their architectural practice spanned almost four decades on three continents. The Magic of America: Electronic Edition collates in a digital format all the texts and illustrations from the three known copies of the work, including the New-York Historical Society’s copy.”
  • Examination Days: The New York African Free School Collection, “In 1787 the New York Manumission Society created the African Free School with the primary goal of educating black children. It began as a single-room schoolhouse with about 40 students, the majority of whom were the children of slaves, and taught them a variety of practical subjects. By the time it was absorbed into the New York City public school system in 1835, it had educated thousands of children, including many who went on to become notable leaders.”
  • Alexander Hamilton Digital Project, “On this website, we are making available previously unpublished manuscript documents by, to, or about Alexander Hamilton; that is, all manuscripts we have located that were not published in the major collections of Alexander Hamilton’s papers, including The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, edited by Harold C. Syrett (New York, Columbia University Press, 1961–1987), and The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary, edited by Julius Goebel, Jr. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1964–1981).”
  • Witness to the Early American Experiment, “This project was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and co-administered by N-YHS and NYU. It contains digital images of historical documents that preserve the words of hundreds of eyewitnesses to the American Revolution in and around New York City. This digital archive includes the collection of maps by George Washington’s cartographers, Robert Erskine and Simeon DeWitt, the Alexander Family Papers, and all broadsides published from 1776 and 1783 in the N-YHS collections.”
  • American Manuscripts, “The New-York Historical Society’s manuscript collections contain over 20,000 linear feet of archival materials, including family papers and organizational and business records. This website presents a selection of collections that document the lives of important New Yorkers and Americans as well as average citizens.”
  • Photographs of New York City and Beyond, “The extensive photograph collections at the New-York Historical Society are particularly strong in portraits and documentary images of New York-area buildings and street scenes from 1839 to 1945, although contemporary photography continues to be collected. This website presents photographic prints and negatives depicting New York City in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”
  • Civil War Treasures, “The materials in this online collection are drawn from twelve archival collections housed at the New-York Historical Society that relate to the Civil War. Pictorial items include 731 stereographs, and over seventy photographs from an album, 178 sketches from three different collections, 304 posters, twenty-nine etchings of caricatures, and almost 500 envelopes with printed or embossed decoration related to Civil War events and personalities. Items from manuscript collections include letters, photographs, and papers regarding a competition sponsored by William Oland Bourne for left-handed penmanship, the first and only issue of The Prison Times handwritten by Confederate prisoners in Fort Delaware, thirty-two letters written by Sarah Blunt, a nurse in hospitals at Point Lookout, Maryland and Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, and three letters by Walt Whitman.”
  • New-York Historical Society Quarterly, “One of the New-York Historical Society’s most important publications, the New-York Historical Society Quarterly (1917-1980) remains an outstanding resource for the study of nearly every aspect of American history and material culture. The Quarterly is a record of the N-YHS Library and Museum and their collections, providing a narrative of the institution’s growth since 1917, and describing collections of manuscript and printed documents, artwork, and decorative arts in exhaustive detail. It also presents original and ground-breaking research on New York City, New York State, and American history in the Colonial period, the Revolutionary War era, the Early Republic, and the nineteenth century.”
  • Robert L. Bracklow Photograph Collection, “Robert Louis Bracklow (1849-1919) was an amateur photographer and stationer. He was an active member of the Society of Amateur Photographers of New York (later the Camera Club), where he exhibited photographs with fellow amateur Richard H. Lawrence and with Alfred Stieglitz.”


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